Monday, November 16, 2009

In Honor of Alice - A COZY GIVEAWAY


November 17, 2006 the world lost a lovely, lovely soul.

My friend, Alice, was one of the most generous, kind, loving, compassionate, giving and cozy people I have ever known.

Alice and her husband lived in an old restored log home filled with warmth and charm and I like to think that one of the ZippyStrippyQuilts I made for her during her illness helped keep her cozy during the time of her awful treatments.

In honor of Alice and her spirit I want to do a ZippyStrippyQuilt giveaway.

This is a lovely, velvetty, fine-wale corduroy quilt in happy shades of red, blue, black and white. It is approximately 50 inches by 70 inches so it's cozy to tuck around you on a blustery winter day. You can click on the picture to see it in closer detail.
Here are the "rules" of this giveaway:

1. I will choose a winner on Saturday, November 21.
2. Your ZippyStrippyQuilt will ship out on Monday, November 23 priority mail (just in time to cuddle up with over Thanksgiving)
3. Get one chance to win by answering this question in a comment to this giveaway post: What quality do you most admire in a friend.
4. Get another chance to win by telling me you are a follower of my blog in a separate comment.
5. Get a third chance to win by posting about this giveaway on your blog and commenting you have done so.

This quilt comes from a non-smoking home and is double washed in hypo-allergenic detergent.

Thank you for helping me honor Alice's spirit by entering this giveaway.

Oh, and Alice, if you are blogging in Heaven, I miss you.

The rest of this is long. But I am posting it if you have a lovely cup of coffee and want to go on a little journey.

On winter nights this driveway would be an arch of black branches silhouetted against a velvety midnight-blue sky studded with stars. Snow would drift in glittery beauty across its path and lay in violet shadows stark on the dirt and gravel textures.

In the spring the branches would come alive with tender green buds unfurling to the cloud punctuated sky. The scent of the earth coming alive would perfume the air as you lingered there in the weak and dappled sunshine spattered across the muddy thoroughfare.

In the summer a canopy of greens, luminous and rich in their depth and variety of shades and intensities would soften the hard glare of the sun and offer small consolation to the dusty heat as you sheltered beneath the massive and interwoven branches.

But this was Autumn and in this radiant season the ancient trees showed their bright and glowing colors in a fantasy blaze of intense golden, orange, russet and crimson beauty. The entire ¼ mile length of the driveway was decorated with a confetti of the brilliant, warm colors. Scattered on the ground and drifting through the air the driveway felt like a passage back into another time and place.

The driveway passed through fields still brilliant with green and other fields bristled with the pale golden symmetry of un-harvested cornfields. The rolling hills of croplands stretched far to meet distant horizons painted carefully in the distance in the hazy, muted tones of autumn grandeur. Low gray clouds cast shadows on the rolling hills, deepening the colors and adding a small chill to the sunshiny day. That essence and feeling that is Fall, that indescribable and nostalgic smell of burning leaves and autumn chill stirred our memories of all the seasons that had passed before this one and reminded us of all the beauty waiting in seasons yet to come.

Leaving the kaleidoscope of color in the driveway we entered a large clearing…acres and acres of green, gold, and the rich brown of plowed fields quilted our view as far as our eyes could see. As the clouds flirted with the sun, shadows deepened and intensified…oh, this was a magic place. There was no outside world anymore. There was only this place, this land, this amazing beauty.

And in the middle of all this was a house…a very old, hand-hewn log house. Stone chimneys bracketed each end. A wrap around porch hugged close to the logs on two sides. Corn shocks and baskets of mums decorated the porch posts.

But brighter still on this porch was the smile of my lovely friend.. Alice and I have known each other for a long time. Originally I was friends with her sister-in-law but over time she and I became very close. We had both been members of a wonderful club called “The Queens of King Road” and there are many wonderful stories to share about our little outings but those will have to wait for another time.

Alice and her husband and their daughter and son-in-law had bought this property several years ago and although I had heard stories and seen pictures of it I had never been there. My husband was speechless. I was speechless. My daughter and the boyfriend were speechless. This was an amazing and wonderful place. I knew from earlier letters and e-mails that the house, in a state of decay and neglect, had been taken apart, log by log, and reassembled on a slightly different spot. I knew that the chimneys had been reconstructed and that the porch and bigger windows had been added. I did not know and certainly never imagined the sense of timelessness, peace and beauty that existed on these quiet and beautiful acres.

Every log, every inch of chinking, the careful mortaring of the stones, the thoughtful placement of the windows stated with quiet emphasis the care, love and sweat that had gone into recreating this home. The ancient logs hewn decades earlier had again become warm shelter. Modern adaptations to the structure melded together seamlessly with century old workmanship. This was a house originally built with love and care and now re-built with love and care. It was amazing.

The views from the porches took your breath away. The clouds behaved for a little while and let the low-slanting autumn sun illuminate the log house, the barn and the amazing outbuildings with golden-toned clarity. My friend’s husband dragged my husband off to look at things, my daughter and her boyfriend went along, and I just stood with my friend wrapped in history and memory and warmth. It was a magic moment for me.

We all wandered. Inside the home where many little grandchildren played and visitors lingered in the kitchen to enjoy wonderful desserts and company. We saw all the hard work that had taken place and all the love that had initiated the hard work. Fireplaces, laid with great attention to balance and color dominated several rooms, some with little pieces of millstones or other special treasures saved for generations to come. Windows looked out onto amazing vistas from every room. Vintage bathroom fixtures added ambiance to sometimes overlooked rooms. Everywhere was warmth and care and love and creativeness.

We wandered outside. The outbuildings were amazing. Most original and some covered in clapboard, some with exposed logs, some with amazing stone foundations, some restored, some in the process. Here a pair of faded overalls decorated a clothesline. There a rustic handmade grapevine wreath decorated some faded white paint on a sweet little building. A perfectly level corn crib was particularly intriquing to me. Its strong horizontal lines and obvious craftsmanship transported me instantly to an age when people put their heart into their craft…and this humble farm building had been lovingly constructed. Other charming sights were everywhere – ice skates hung on an outbuilding door, little bright spots of zinnias still valiantly in bloom, some still green grape leaves adorned weathered and gnarled old vines.

The massive barn contained other surprises. An inside rope swing, a pair of old horse drawn buggies in the corner, intact grain chutes and weathervanes and that lofty echoing mustiness you can only find a barn that has stood for decades. Oh, this was a wondrous place to visit and embrace into memory.

My daughter and her boyfriend traveled over the acres on a bright red ATV while my husband and I wandered the farm with our hosts, here admiring the beautiful color of foliage growing by a primitive fence, there exclaiming over the way the small stream bubbled over random stones.

The clouds gathered for a few moments with the feeling that falling temperatures and snow would not be far behind. I remembered that feeling. The end of the Autumn and the start of the winter. I shivered for a moment with the chill and a little sad nostalgia.

Before we left we all went to one of the highest hills above the house and barn. There my friends daughter and her husband were building a new house. The foundation and driveway were present and it was easy to imagine sitting on a big porch and watching sunsets for many years to come. It would be a house to last the years and to, perhaps, grow old in.

We stood at the top of the hill and watched their grandchildren play. We watched the light change as clouds came and went. We stood quietly. It was difficult to find words to explain the place and the feelings… it still is.

Our little trip back down the magical driveway was silent. No radio, no talking, just quiet. As we came back onto the secondary road from the enchantment of the farm my husband said quietly, “I really love this place.” And I just reached over and took his hand. It was an amazing place and I will remember those feelings forever.

51 comments:

Cynthia said...

Hahahahahaha!! I'm the first!! And, since I'm in desperate need of a zippy,strippy quilt - so that I don't need to embarass myself by trying to make one - my friend, the quality I admire most in a friend is their ability to laugh and enjoy life. Just like the sexiest thing about a man is their sense of humor. Steve's still laughing about marrying me!

Cynthia said...

And the second! Have I ever told you I am a follower of your blog and you are the most fabulousest (I don't think that's a word, but you know what I mean)writer ever??

Darn, I don't have a blog or I could be third!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This is a beautiful quilt, Jenny! I think Alice is smiling down on your for honoring her this way. I couldn't help but notice how she was signing the Dr. Suess book "The Places You'll Go" in your prior post, for her grandchildren. I gave that same book to my son and daughter when they graduated collge :-)

The quality I most admire in a friend is cheerfulness, and the ability to make me laugh and feel happy. I think that's why I love your blog so much -- you always make me smile!

PS-- I'm a follower!
Hugs, Pat

~Kristen said...

I WANT that quilt! :)

The qualities that I most admire in all my friends (and it seems to be a common theme for my friends for some reason - must be the caliber of people I surround myself with!) is our ability to just laugh. That's all. All I need - my life is so serious so much of the time that the time I spend laughing and giggling with friends is more precious to me than anything else! :)~

~Kristen said...

Oh, did I mention that I'm a follower of your blog??? I am!!

~Kristen said...

Now, I'm off to post about this giveaway on my own blog, Miss Jenny! Yep, that's right - enter me for three chances to win that fabulous quilt!! ;)

Sherri S said...

What a very sweet way to honor your friend. I'm sure she is smiling down from heaven right now bc of your love for her.
In a friend, the one thing I admire the most is honesty. Why? Because then we can be truly ourselves with them. Silly, tearful, joyful, funny, creative...whatever and KNOW without a doubt they still love us JUST as we are.

Fairy Footprints said...

We all search for that special light in our lives, the light that shines through our darkest hour.

When I found out my cousin had cancer when she was only 10 years old, I never forgot the prayers and the sleepless nights, I lay awake praying for GOD to spare her. Praying God would never release her from our earth world. He spared her only after many years of suffering. I never stopped praying for her. I prayed her life would be so incredible and her journey would never end. We never want our journeys here on earth to end, because the unknown is the scariest part of living. My cousin fought the evil that lurked inside her body, to only end up with it again 2 years ago.

For many of you blog followers out there you have already read about my cousin Amy. I only ask for your thoughts and prayers as her test will be coming up soon.

She is my light even though we are so far apart. She is the only sister I have ever known. Growing up together and being so close, and then having some evil lurking inside her that can possible take her out of my life is so hard to fathom.

Amy, you will never comprehend how much light you have brought to so many peoples lives. You make people smile just by hearing your angelic laugh, you make me want to be the best person I can possibly be.

You are the light that shines in my darkest hour, I see you Amy, I see your light, your light is still burning bright.Amy, I will pray for you always, you are always in my heart, I love you. Please fight, please fight to be with us, don’t leave me yet.

Amy went to heaven October 23rd, she was my best friend and my light, she was everything I wanted in a best friend. She is my idea of a best friend.


God bless you and your giveaway I wrote the above, for my cousin while she was still here so that she would know how special she truly was to me.

I am happy to hear how special Alice was to you.

Happy Holidays

Please enter me into your giveaway
I follow

Blessings,
Heidi

Fairy Footprints said...

I am sorry I forgot to say that I was a follower in another comment, please see my first comment about what a friend means to me.

Blessings,
Heidi

Fairy Footprints said...

Hello again, I have added your giveaway to my blog.


Blessings,
Heidi

MaryB. said...

Yes, like so many others I love a sense of humour but maybe the ability to be ourselves is what I treasure most or a caring atitude. So guess I will go with the latter. Someone who cares about others is an atribute a cherish in my friends... comeon, who doesn't treasure that friend who assures you your bum doesn't look big in that outfit or that yes, you do look lovely (on one of those days when you feel like you were dragged through a hedge backwards!

MaryB. said...

Oh, forgot, just wanted to say I'm a follower of your blog!

MaryB. said...

And... I have posted a link to your blog on Odd-Eyed Cat primitives.
hugs Jenny!

Jen said...

Jenny, what a tribute to your friend! WOW. She was so lucky to have you as a friend.

The quilt is beautiful and what a wonderful giveaway.

The quality that I admire most in a friend is honesty/truth. This to me is the core of all relationships. I have "friends" that did not have this quality, hence why friends is in quotes. My real friends have that quality.
God's blessing to you and all your friends!

Jen said...

I am a follower of your blog!

Drama Queen said...

Jenny -

Wow. What a beautiful story. I loved it. And what an amazing friendship you had with Miss Alice.

The quilt is absolutely stunning - and since I just moved into a "real" log cabin last week, I had a brief, fleeting thought of how lovely the quilt would look here in my hearth room by the fireplace.

But then I thought - a friend is someone who gives of themselves - and that's what I admire most about my friends. Their ability to give themselves away - whatever that is - be it laughter, support, time....

And I, if I were to be so fortunate to win that beautiful quilt - would give it away. Yup. It would be given to someone who truly needs it - because I have been truly blessed in my life and I have everything I could possibly need - or want.

So, I will post a comment here - because I love your story - but don't enter me in this contest, as I would love the quilt to go to someone who really, really needs it.

I guess I am "giving away" my chances to win....! :)

Blessings,

Sherri

Diana said...

Ooohh, I am so glad I got in on this special giveaway.

I love friends who are genuine. My best friends are themselves regardless of where they are and who's around. This leads to honesty and loyalty among each other.

Diana said...

I am a follower!!

Jen said...

i linked to this post from my blog...thanks.

Carol said...

The thing I love about my best friend....is her gentle grace. I love this quilt...it was made with love...I just know it!

Carol said...

I'm more of a stalker than a follower! hee hee!

Anonymous said...

I think I would have to say trust is the most important. Everything else builds from there.

I don't expect to win but am empressed with the beautiful memorial of your friend.

Carrie P

Jayne said...

An amazing and sweet story! Alice had a good friend in you!
Blessings,
Jayne

Marie said...

Such beautiful words...
The thing that I admire most in my nearest and dearest friends is their ability to listen and really hear what I am saying or even what I'm not saying. At times it's an annoying quality when I'm trying to hide something and they seem to know anyway but they are prying with love and I love that about them.

Jodi H Mi said...

Oh Jenny, you do such beautiful work and I admire what you are doing. You do have a terrific Blog, but I find that I am not able to follow it as close as I would like at this time.
Now to answer your question, how can one pick an just one or two things. There are so many.....

DRIVE. I admire the drive my friends have, a strong desire to work hard and long. They’re willing to give all they’ve got to a project. Developing their drive by focusing on their future success, and keep going.

COURAGE.I admire their courage to do things others consider impossible.

DEVOTION TO GOALS. The fact that they Have something specific to accomplish each day, and always seem to manage to get it done.

HONESTY. I admire their honesty.They Take the responsibility for things that go wrong. and are willing to admit, ‘I goofed’, and learn from your mistakes.

OPTIMISM.They are so optimistic and deliberately focus your mind on something good coming up.

ENTHUSIASM. They have enthusiam and really believe that things will turn out well. Don’t hold back.

DYNAMIC ENERGY.They don’t sit on your butt waiting for something good to happen. Be determined to make it happen.

OUTGOINGNESS. I’ve found my friends are able to make friends easily and are easy on their friends. They a ‘booster’ not somebody who puts others down.

PATIENCE. Be patient with others most of the time, but always be impatient with your self. Expect far more of yourself than others.

I admire the fact that they know that there are things that they cannot change, yet they are always there with encouragement to make things easier on another person.

Support from friends and loved one
is something that cannot be bought, it is there because of the person they are and the person you are and who could want for anything more.

Just a few of my thoughts as I travel through my journey.

Jodi Hall Mi

Monica said...

I love a friend that can laugh with me (and at me) and just be silly. Someone I can talk to, confide in, share recipes with.....the list goes on and on!

Monica said...

Yup, I'm a follower!

Julie Schuler said...

What a lovely account and a beautiful picture you paint of the cabin. I feel like I was there.

Kimi said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend, Alice!

I most admire in a friend... loyalty and kindness. A friend who sticks by you even when your not easy to stick by.

Kimi said...

PS I'm also a follower

Terri and Bob said...

I am the proud recipient of my own personal gorgeous pink and brown zippy quilt that landed on my doorstep today... so please do not enter me.... but know that I am touched to the core of my being... that I cried like a baby when I saw it and am so totally blessed by having you as my friend. Much love.

Nadeen said...

Well, little lady, I'm going to post before I read your story. Besides someone who will faithfully pray for me, I cherish confidentiality. In the movie we just watched last night, The Women, they referred to it as 'We're in the Vault Now' meaning this goes no further than right here. And I would add to this - that the vaulters would pray about the situation.

dEE

Nadeen said...

I'm the helmet head that is stalking you as a follower! :)

Nadeen said...

and you're not going to believe this one but...I've posted about your the giveaway on my, yes my, blog. It's an infant...maybe even premature yet! bwahahahaha.

dEE

Lynn Stevens said...

Jenny, What a wonderful way to honor your friend, I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. Friends like that are so rare! the quality I most admire is trust- trust to keep our secrets, trust to be there when you need them or she needs you, trust that our friendship will always be there- no matter what!
Thanks for stopping by my blog and entering my giveaway, best of luck!

REC said...

Jenny-
What I most admire in a friend is sometimes just the silence and peacefulness of knowing they are there. You can spend a evening in watching a movie or you can be across the country and know that even though there is silence between you, doesn't change or alter the friendships stregnth one bit. You know that it might be days, weeks or months til you speak again but they will be on the other end of the phone or at the front door if you ever needed them. To me, there is no greater thing than a true friend. I have learned this lesson the hard way, and am thankful everyday for the blessings that "silent" friends give me.

REC said...

and Im a follower to your blog (even though Im not sure if its under this account or not! I know that I am... somewhere!! :o) and I check it from Chickberry too)

Karen Pilcher said...

Joy! I look for joy! In their smile, their face and their heart. I, too, lost a good and wonderful friend in my life. Elaine was simply, Joy! So, I look for joy.

Karen Pilcher said...

Jenny, I forgot to mention, I am also a follower.
You are a wonderful lady and I am so so sorry for your loss. She's watching out for you.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love the story you added about Alice. What happened to her home after she passed? It is so sad she did not to get spend much time there. She and her husband sound like amazing people.

Melinda Cornish said...

what a lovely tribute to your friend....she will always be with you in your heart...the quality I admire in a friend is being there during the bad stuff too....That is when real friends really step up to the plate and sometimes I have been surprised by who they are..........Alice was lucky to have you...you were lucky to have each other!

Melinda Cornish said...

you know I follow you...........

Melinda Cornish said...

and I will post it on my blog....are you sick of me yet?

Mardell said...

Jenny,
What a wonderful way to honor dear Alice. The story brought tears to my eyes.

The quality I like best in a friend is someone who is always there for me, no matter what.

How sweet of you to send a ZSQ to our dear Terri. God bless you!

Mardell said...

And you know I follow your blog! I look forward to your posts EVERY DAY! :o)

Prim2Pink said...

My oh my, you do have a way with words. I was captivated with the story of your dear friend. She was truly a treasure. But then I had to keep reading your older posts just to read what you write. I am definately a new follower!
Judy

Prim2Pink said...

I would love to be able to win one of your quilts. It could definately be used up here in northern Indiana. It does get mighty cold here.
I will post your giveaway to my blog this evening.
Judy

Prim2Pink said...

I do admire the laughter and being able to have fun with your friends. But one of our dearest friends is dying from a brain tumor. It hurts so much to watch him go through what he has endured and knowing that he will only be with us a short time. The "joy" we once knew is a sweet memory and now I think that I admire strength, compassion and knowing that you can feel the love for each other without having to speak it. And the TRUEST friend is one that remembers you even after you've gone!!!
I'm sure that dear Alice is smiling from above!
Judy

Tony, Jimi, Nicki, Joey, Ryan and Kaycee said...

Wow Mrs. J...Alice would be so proud of you. I am sorry you lost her...But so glad she had you in her final times.

OK...well, what I look for in a friend....I look for them to be Genuine. Real. Be who you are...I ask no more. I will be a forever friend to those that are true.

On to my next post! :)
Hugs!!

Tony, Jimi, Nicki, Joey, Ryan and Kaycee said...

Well, Zippy Skippy Strippy!!
I am a follower!! :)

Tony, Jimi, Nicki, Joey, Ryan and Kaycee said...

I have now posted this on my blog...